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Namibian Human Rights Group Files More Charges Against Founding President

Namibia’s National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) has asked the International Criminal Court to bring more charges of human rights abuses against founding President Sam Nujoma. The group says the abuses occurred during the country’ struggle for independence. The group said its action followed the advice from some international human rights groups and after supporters of former President Nujoma as well as partisans of the ruling SWAPO (South West Africa People's Organization) party allegedly threatened staffers of the organizations with bodily harm.

But supporters of the former president are accusing the head of the human rights group of embarking on a personal vendetta to tarnish the reputation of founding President Nujoma. Phil Ya - Nangolo is the chairman of the Namibia’s National Society for Human Rights. From the capital, Windhoek he told VOA reporter Peter Clottey that perpetrators of human rights abuses should face the full rigor of the law.

“I can confirm that we made the submission after a good advice from an international jurist of repute. This came about after it was known that we have indeed made a submission to the International Criminal Court, the Namibian government in particular the SWAPO party have launched attacks on us; issuing death threats, issuing orders of expulsion from this country, and this is a direct result of that submission we made to the court. Now, this amounted to defeating the arm of justice and this is the reason why we felt the need to add this second addendum to the original submission,” Ya – Nangolo pointed out.

He said it was unfortunate his group’s attempt to have the country reconciled (after the liberation struggle that brought about the country’s independence) were thwarted by the ruling party.

“The policy on paper on reconciliation in fact if you have been noticing during the last 17 years, we have been calling upon the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Namibia to investigate a very serious violations of human rights under South Africa and apartheid regime as well as by the SWAPO, then liberation movement. But all these efforts have been rejected by Mr. Sam Nujoma’s SWAPO party,” he said.

Ya – Nangolo denied he has a personal score to settle with the former president.

“That’s absolute rubbish. I don’t know him personally. I only know his acts of violence that has been perpetuated prior and after independence…crimes have been committed and there is no way human rights activist as serious as I am could stand by when human rights are being trampled upon with impunity. Violations have taken place and nobody can dispute that; United Nation knows that, the people of Namibia know that, in fact even the whole world knows that,” Ya – Nangolo maintained.